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Cops arrest man after two marijuana joints found in his pocket

Just say no to marijuana

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 42-year-old taxi driver arrested for disturbing the public peace in Nu’uuli last Friday night is now charged with violating local drug laws. When police officers conducted a body search on the defendant, Valaau Iakopo after he was apprehended, they found two hand rolled marijuana cigarette inside his pants pocket.

On Friday, June 1st, 2020 around 9:21p.m, the TPS received a phone call from a woman in Nu’uuli requesting police assistance after a man walked in front of their home and yelled profanities at her and her young children for no reason. Furthermore, the woman told police that the man was very intoxicated and he was heading in the direction of the Laufou Shopping Center.

Two police units responded to the call and immediately spotted a man walking in front of the CBT building in Nu’uuli holding a beer bottle in his right hand. The man matched the description given by the caller.

Officers approached the male individual and asked him if he would come with them to the TPS to discuss some matters pertaining an allegation against him. The man responded to officers by telling them that he didn’t do anything and he’s looking for “Uili” who took his wallet containing $140 cash.

After a brief conversation with officers, the man agreed to go to the TPS to discuss the matter. Two officers helped to escort the male individual inside the police unit because he was very intoxicated.

At the TPS, the man identified himself as Valaau Iakopo, the defendant in this matter. After informing him about the allegation, Iakopo told police that he was looking for a man named Uili who stole his wallet containing money. He stated that he was drinking at his friend’s house in Nuuuli when a man (he only knew him as Uili) came up and joined their drinking session with his friend.

At one point, he went to the back to use the bathroom and left his phone and wallet on the rock where he was sitting. When he returned, Uili was gone and his wallet was nowhere to be found. He asked his friend who told him that he went inside the house to bring food for them and when he came back, Uili was gone.

Iakopo was really mad and he left his friend’s house and started walking to his house in Petesa. As he was walking on the road, he saw a woman and her three young kids sitting in front of their house laughing at him. He turned around and yelled profanities at them thinking that they were mocking at him.

Iakopo then apologized to officers for his action and stated that he was very upset about his wallet being stolen by Uili.

A body search was performed on Iakopo for illegal drugs and for anything prohibited in his possession, and officers found a small stamp-sized baggie containing two hand rolled cigarettes inside the rear pocket of Iakopo’s pants. The two hand rolled cigarettes were later tested and the result was positive for marijuana.

When asked about the marijuana joints found in his possession, Iakopo told police he had no idea how the two joints got inside his pocket. He said he hadn’t smoked marijuana in his whole entire life. He further stated that he has worked as a taxi driver for over 8 years and he knows a lot of people involved in selling drugs, but he’s not one.

Iakopo made his initial appearance in District Court last week.

He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, a felony along with one count of disturbing the public peace, a misdemeanor.

Bail is set at $5,000.

Preliminary examination is Tuesday next week, June 16th at 11a.m.